From Pine View Farm

Down, then Up 0

This is truly strange.


A judge Wednesday forced the removal of a website attacking Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot and the city’s treatment of downtown clubs.

Circuit Court Judge Charles E. Poston ordered an immediate removal of the website, stating that other legal action “is not adequate under the particular circumstances of this case.”


A Circuit Court judge reversed his own decision Thursday to shut down a website criticizing Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot, clearing the way for the site to reactivate.

Circuit Court Judge Charles E. Poston reconsidered the day-old motion without legal prompting and concluded “that the temporary injunction should not have been granted.”

GoDaddy took the site down when it got the first order.

It’s not back up yet. GoDaddy is quoted as saying it’s waiting for a copy of the new court order before it restores it. (Follow the “Yesterday” link above for a link to the site.)

Now, I’m still learning my way around local politics and I’m not in Norfolk (though it’s right next door), so I don’t know beans about either Mr. Burfoot or the website, but, unless the site was actually slanderous, the judge probably got it right the second time.

In the United States, what with the first amendment and all, slander, defamation, and libel are extremely difficult to prove. Opinion clearly stated as opinion is normally protected and truth is an absolute defense against any of those charges. That is, if you are convicted of bribery, someone cannot defame, slander, or libel you by pointing out that you take (or pay) bribes because, well, you did.

This is certain: If the site goes back up, it’s going to get far more traffic than it otherwise would have gotten.

(Full disclosure: I use GoDaddy for this site. I cannot fault GoDaddy for complying with a court order. The legal principle is to follow the order first, appeal later.)


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